Recruiting volunteers is an ongoing process for most volunteer coordinators. You likely deal with groups that want to volunteer once as well as with people who want to volunteer on a regular basis.
Planning and participating in a day of service is a great way to help those interested in volunteering to learn about your organization and how they can help. Here is an example of one organization’s efforts to create a day of service.
Creating Projects for a Day of Service
Some organizations such as businesses or churches may contact you looking for a short-term or one-day service project they can help you with. These types of projects may be difficult to plan depending on your organization, but they are a great way to find more permanent volunteers and to forge relationships with a group that is willing to come back to work with you on a regular basis.
Try to come up with project ideas that are portable, or that can be completed in their building, and that only take a few hours. Putting together kits or collecting donations are a great way to do this. Another option is a cleanup or renovation of your building.
These opportunities are a great way to recruit more regular volunteers for your organization. At each service project you set up, provide contact information and explain the different ways that they can further serve your organization.
One example is if the group does clean up of a boys or girls club, you can tell them about the opportunities to work as a Big Brother or Big Sister or to volunteer as tutor at the center. You can also share stories about how your organization has helped people in the community. You are likely to receive a few regular volunteers from each of the service projects you set up.
Creating a Community Event
Instead of waiting for a group to contact you, your organization may work together with civic leaders and other nonprofit organizations in your community to set up a local day of service. You can contact local businesses and see if they would be willing to sponsor a service project, provide money to purchase supplies and give their employees the day off to volunteer.
If you have several different charities working on this together, you can advertise it across your community and create a great event. If you do this you will want to contact the civic organizations, the churches and the city council in your area to make this as widespread as possible. You can also contact your local schools to see if they would like to participate. Make sure to advertise the event several months in advance and to contact your regular volunteers so they can spread the word to their friends and coworkers.
Thanking Your Volunteers
It is always nice to thank the people who volunteered at the event. It may not be practical to hand write thank you notes for everyone who came, depending on the size of the event you hold.
As a nonprofit you may not have the means to provide refreshments or cold drinks for all your volunteers, but you may ask some of the groups who help organize the event if they would be willing to donate the water or refreshments for the event. Do take the time, however, to hand write a note for each person who participated in the planning and coordinating of each of the events.
Carlina Yepinski is the primary researcher and writer for networkmonitoring.org. Her most recent accomplishments include graduating from Kentucky State with a degree in communications and computer science. Her current focus for the site involves computer networks and network monitoring software.
Shari led Online Marketing and Communications at VolunteerMatch from 2010-2015. After working with nonprofits for 9 years, she moved over to the corporate sector and is now leading Inbound Marketing for a tech company in San Francisco.